How an errant Starbucks cup became a metaphor for Game of Thrones season 8

The fourth episode of Game of Thrones’ eighth and final season, “The Last of the Starks,” was full of shocking and controversial twists — but perhaps none as startling as a modern-day Starbucks cup left in plain view during the Winterfell party scene.

Fans picked up on the very inappropriately placed Starbucks cup hours after the episode premiered:

And it didn’t take long after that for the shot to spread rapidly across social media, with some fans choosing to celebrate the flub rather than mock it on Monday morning:

Despite their ironic affection for the gaffe, fans have also made sure to call it out as evidence of the show’s sloppy production values and questionable budget:

It didn’t help that astute viewers quickly realized that the showrunners themselves, David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, had cameos in the scene, and still no one managed to notice the wayward cup:

As amusing as all this is, it’s also an opportunity for fans to vent their frustrations with Game of Thrones in general, using the Starbucks cup as a sort of synecdoche for their overarching problems with this season of the show thus far:

“I hate where the writing is going overall,” one fan wrote in a Twitter thread (which discusses a major episode spoiler). “Everything is feeling rushed and some of the build up and ideas for the past seasons are just getting overlooked. Just like that Starbucks cup.”

Viewers have increasingly called out the show this season for its sexist and racist treatment of various characters and what seem like the characters’ inexplicable motivations. The Starbucks cup, at least for now, may be the perfect representative of all of these complaints — ironically giving the fandom something to unite around in the series’ final weeks.